Saving children’s lives will benefit entire societies
Children who thrive are more likely to live longer, stay in school, be productive members of their society, and realise their dreams, creating benefits that reverberate through future generations. This is what motivates UNICEF to work with partners in the ‘A Promise Renewed’ movement towards eliminating preventable child deaths.
The movement, which is based on shared responsibility for child survival, has indeed grown steadily since its start just over a year ago. We are witnessing commitment in its true sense with pledges turning into action on the ground for children. So far, 176 governments (including Guyana) have signed the A Promise Renewed pledge and thousands of civil society groups and private individuals have mobilized actions and resources to dramatically reduce mortality rates even further.
Guyana is on track to achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015, and has achieved gender parity. The average attendance in primary school is 74% (Digest of education statistics 2010-2011)
Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education in Guyana, and national assessments are done at grades 2, 4, and 6 to determine readiness for the secondary level.
Guyana also has to its credit a well structured, two year nursery education programme which ensures readiness for primary school.
A high percentage of those children enrolled successfully complete primary school, however, is essential that all three indicators for this MDG goal – Enrollment, Completion and Level of Literacy, are achieved.
It is not only important that children complete primary school, but that they also attain the required level of literacy upon completion, to be able to progress to the next level in their development.
The remaining challenge is ensuring the provision of quality basic education for all children in Guyana, especially those in the hinterland and rural areas.
The issue of Equity:
Although hinterland regions recorded a high percentage of attendance (79%), Region 1 is still lagging behind with respect to primary education, and there are gaps and challenges that need to be addressed.
Schools in the hinterland are still without trained teachers, and some schools are still implementing multi-grade teaching, which impacts the quality of education.
Disparities in participation for children with disabilities, and other special needs are also still not fully addressed in the school system.
UNICEF continues to work with its partners in this area, to improve the quality and accessibility of education for children, and support the implementation of child friendly schools throughout Guyana.
- Support to the MoE and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Advocacy and capacity building for implementing alternative forms of discipline, and the elimination of corporal punishment in schools.
- Support for the Education Strategic Plan:
- Technical support to the development of an action plan for tracking and reintegrating out of school children in both primary and secondary School.
- Advocacy for inclusive education, which should include not only children with disabilities, but all children with special needs.
- Support to the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Programme
- Guaranteeing universal quality education
- Retention in school, especially in grade 6
- Violence in schools and bullying